Retention is key to making more profit in a less stressful way! Almost every dentist wants more new patients. Did you know that you will spend way more money every month trying to gain more patients than you will to retain the ones already in your dental practice? Lots of dentists know how many new patients they are gaining, but rarely anyone tracks who is leaving. As a matter of fact, most of the time the employee is not even marking the patient “inactive” when they are told they won’t be returning. Nor do they ask, “Why?” It is important to know why people leave and make sure you plug that leak in your dental practice.
Have you ever thought about the ones that leave? Yes, every dental office will have some natural attrition and you will need to always gain new patients. However, people don’t always leave because they moved away or switched preferred providers of their insurance plan. They leave because they are looking for a dentist or team that treats them the way they want to be treated during their interactions with your office.
Who is tracking the number of patients that are leaving when we are labeling them “inactive” and the “new patients” joining the practice? This is your net patients gained or lost. If you gain 300 new patients a year and 312 patients are no longer coming to the practice, you have a negative 12 loss. This means you are not growing your numbers in active patients.
Here are ways that you can retain more patients;
1. Deliver an ultimate patient experience.
2. Listen more and give the patient what they want.
3. Document their needs so you are consistent during your dental visits.
4. Ask patients, “How was your visit today?”
5. Answer the phone calls within 2 rings and respond to calls in a timely manner.
6. Offer amenities and over-deliver.
7. Respond to your online reviews.
8. Give gifts, cards, and compliments on a consistent basis.
9. Offer convenient scheduling, 3rd party financing, and helpful information for them to commit to your dentistry.
10. Show before and after photos.
11. Celebrate when their dentistry is healthy and complete.
12. Make post op calls.
13. Care about their family, pets, hobbies, etc.
14. Give painless injections.
15. Use amazing technology to make their dental visits easier.
16. Thank them for their referrals.
17. Don’t yell across the halls or leave them stranded around the office.
18. Guide them to the restroom and offer them a snack or beverage.
19. Don’t place them on hold and forget about the call.
20. Watch your language that could scare them. (Check out my words to replace in a dental office in my dental store.)
21. Offer a guarantee or warranty on your dentistry.
22. Make sure the entire team is on the same page, so the patient isn’t confused, and they don’t know who to believe.
23. Ask your patients what you could improve in the practice or send out anonymous surveys. The key is to act on the constructive criticism and improve your dental office.
I hope you can run a team meeting and listen to the ideas to improve your retention. The point is to be consistent. People can’t refer to a dental office that is sometimes great while other times not so great. Have your team commit to some type of customer service or improving the patient experience so you gain patients by your active patients referring to your dental practice.